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Woodlands Croft, hut circle and field system 275m SSE of

A Scheduled Monument in Dyce/Bucksburn/Danestone, Aberdeen City

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Coordinates

Latitude: 57.2267 / 57°13'35"N

Longitude: -2.2518 / 2°15'6"W

OS Eastings: 384893

OS Northings: 815130

OS Grid: NJ848151

Mapcode National: GBR XH.8F5M

Mapcode Global: WH9Q8.CMYB

Entry Name: Woodlands Croft, hut circle and field system 275m SSE of

Scheduled Date: 4 March 2009

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM12363

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: hut circle, roundhouse

Location: Dyce

County: Aberdeen City

Electoral Ward: Dyce/Bucksburn/Danestone

Traditional County: Aberdeenshire

Description

The monument comprises three hut circles, a type of stone-walled house dating to the later prehistoric period. Associated stone linear banks adjoin two of the hut circles and may form an enclosure or other boundary feature. The group is located at 145m above sea-level on the NW end of the long, flat top of an unnamed hill.

The walls of the hut circles survive as upstanding, turf-covered, circuits of stony bank. The huts are in a row, aligned from SSW-NNE. The hut circle furthest to SSW is an irregular circle, the diameter of which ranges between 11m and 12m. The bank is 1m thick and stands to a height of up to 0.3m. A broad entrance is located on the E side of the hut circle and the terminals of the wall at this location expand to 4m in thickness and 0.5m high. Two short lengths of stony bank extend out from the wall on the SE and NNW of this hut.

The middle hut circle is 44m NNE of the first and measures between 9.3m and 7m in diameter, the walls of which measure up to 2m thick and 0.4m in height. The line of the wall bulges inwards on the north-east and there are traces of an entrance on the south. A cairn, standing 5m high, is located to the south of the central hut circle. The hut circle furthest to the NNE lies 19m NNE of the middle hut circle. It measures 9.5m in diameter and the walls are up to 1m thick and 0.2m in height. The circuit of the bank is incomplete in its E/SE arc, the likely location for an entrance. A linear stony bank extends from close to the S side of this hut circle to the south.

The area to be scheduled is oval in plan to include the remains described and an area around them within which evidence relating to their construction and use may survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural Significance

The monument's cultural significance can be expressed as follows:

Intrinsic characteristics

The hut circles are well preserved and have intact entrance features. These and the associated linear banks have an inherent capability to inform our knowledge of later prehistoric domestic architecture and the morphology of associated field systems. It is likely that archaeologically significant features, deposits and artefacts associated with the monument will survive below ground. There is also a high potential for the upstanding elements of the monument to have sealed beneath them a contemporary land surface. This soil is likely to contain important information relating to the environment within which the monument was constructed and land-use practices in the immediate and surrounding area.

Within and around the visible remains of the monument negative features may survive that contain archaeologically significant deposits and artefacts. These have an inherent potential to inform our understanding of contemporary domestic life and material culture, and specific functions undertaken in the vicinity. The period of use of the monument, any phases of activity and the subsequent abandonment of the monument may also be demonstrated through research into these deposits and associated artefacts.

Contextual characteristics

The monument is located in a commanding position on the brow of a hill top, and the prehistoric houses would have been visible for some distance when upstanding. There are long views in all directions including, 23km away to the WNW, the peaks of Bennachie, the highest hill in the region and site of an Iron-Age/early-historic fort. The River Don lies 420m to the north-west at the foot of the steep N slope of the hill.

Historic maps and extant tree stumps indicate that this hill has been heavily wooded in the recent history and traces of rig and furrow indicate an agricultural use in the more distant past. These factors may explain the relative scarcity of contemporary monuments within the immediate vicinity. It is not common for hut circles in this area of lowland to survive as well as upland counterparts and the completeness of this group is impressive.

Archaeologists have identified some comparable features some 900m to the south-west on Blue Hill and The Slacks. These consist of a cairn field, at least one burial cairn and further hut circles. Taken together as a group these monuments have an inherent capacity to further our understanding of patterns of land division, land use and settlement at this locality. They can also further our knowledge of regional identity and the nature of any interaction with people from within the locality and further afield. When compared and contrasted, the buried and upstanding evidence from the hut circle sites has an inherent potential to inform our understanding of specific domestic practices and arrangements, and phases of occupation at individual locations

National Importance

The monument is of national importance because it has an inherent potential to make a significant addition to the understanding of the past, in particular domestic arrangements in later prehistoric society, domestic architecture and patterns of settlement and other land uses. It also has an inherent capacity to contribute to our understanding of regional identities in later prehistory and the nature of any relationships between local and more mobile groups of people. The unusually good survival of these hut circles in a lowland setting enhances this potential as much of the artefactual and ecofactual evidence is likely to survive. The loss of this monument would impede our ability to understand better the economic, agricultural and domestic basis for settlement in these types of Scottish landscape.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Sources

Bibliography

RCAHMS record the monument as NJ81NW 44. Aberdeenshire SMR records the site as NJ81NW0052.

References:

RCAHMS 2007, IN THE SHADOW OF BENNACHIE: A FIELD ARCHAEOLOGY OF DONSIDE, ABERDEENSHIRE, Edinburgh: Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.

Shepherd I 1992, 'Woodland's Wood (Dyce Parish): Hut Circles and Field System, Rig and Furrow', DISCOVERY EXCAV SCOT, 35.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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